In our weekend reading: thoughts on Heather Trost’s latest album, a review of David Diop’s new novel, and more.
Afternoon Bites: Scholastique Mukasonga, Simon Han Interviewed, Lisa Hanawalt, Shane MacGowan on Film, and More
In our afternoon reading: thoughts on Scholastique Mukasonga’s new collection, an interview with Lisa Hanawalt, and more.
I first met Maryse Meijer on a book tour where she was kind enough to read with Tobias Caroll and myself at the very fine Volumes Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois. We exchanged copies of our books and I quickly devoured Heartbreaker, all too happy to add it the following semester to my students’ reading lists. Her prose is sharp, focused, sometimes musical and possesses an undeniable kinetic energy. Her characters, filled with the burning embers of desire, are often longing for things that will tear the asunder, lead them into situations that give the reader pause, that ask us to consider the power of desire, that fill us, in the safety of our reading chairs, with a sense of danger. Bleak and uncomfortable but never disappointing, her stories unearth the best and worst in human nature. Her latest, The Seventh Mansion, centers on a disenfranchised young man, Xie, who discovers love in the bones of a saint, and through this love finds power to stand in the face of extraordinary odds and fight for what he believes in. A novel that is as much a love story as it is a literary call to arms, Maryse manages to create a book that I wish I’d read my entire life and only now have had the pleasure. When FSG Originals announced the release of The Seventh Mansion, I contacted Maryse for this interview. Always gracious, Maryse agreed and the follow conversation was conducted via email over several weeks this autumn.
Morning Bites: Brian Evenson, Booker Prize Winners, Danielle Evans, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Interviewed, and More
In our morning reading: stories by Brian Evenson and Danielle Evans, an interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and more.
Afternoon Bites: David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Forough Farrokhzad Revisited, Mary Timony, National Book Awards Recapped, and More
In our afternoon reading: an interview with David Heska Wanbli Weiden, thoughts on this year’s National Book Awards, and more.
Loving Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because the Nolan family was Irish? That was a reason I could talk about—because, when I was a girl, being Irish was no longer a shameful thing. But poverty was shameful, and there I was, growing up in a single-parent household dependent on Mother’s Allowance payments. So when I talked about reading the book, I talked about the more acceptable parts of the story, but it was the Nolan family’s struggle to make ends meet—coupled with the related family tensions and the father’s frequent absences—that secured this novel as a true favourite.
Morning Bites: Chelsea G. Summers, National Book Award Winners, Soul Glo, Dubravka Ugrešić Nonfiction, and More
In our morning reading: thoughts on Chelsea G. Summers’s new novel, an interview with Jean Kyong Frazier, and more.
Afternoon Bites: Jordan A. Rothacker’s Playlist, Claire Messud, Patty Yumi Cottrell on Queer Lit, “Wonder Boys” Revisited, and More
In our afternoon reading: a playlist from Jordan A. Rothacker, an interview with Patty Yumi Cottrell, and more.